Pisanello (Antonio Pisano) (Italian, Pisa or Verona by 1395–1455)
model 1440–41 (possibly cast 19th century)
Copper alloy with reddish brown patina and traces of dark wax; pierced.
Diam. 8.7 cm, wt. 200.6 g.
Robert Lehman Collection, 1975
Not on view
Active in Verona and the Italian courts, the celebrated master Pisanello left behind a significant legacy, including a large corpus of drawings, several paintings, and the devopment of the Renaissance portrait medal. Inspired by Roman coins, with their portraits of rulers and allegorical representations on the reverse, the medals commemorated individuals or events and functioned as gifts and mementoes. This medal depicts Nicolo Piccinino, a renowned mercenary soldier of Perugia, who was in the service of the Duke of Milan, Filipp Maria Visconti, in the years 1440-41, when this medal was produced. The she-griffin of Perugia suckling two children decorates the reverse. The course aftercast may date to the nineteenth century.
Inscription: Inscribed on the obverse: NICOLAVS· PICININVS· VICECOMES·MARCHIO·CAPITANEVS· MAX[imus]· AC· MARS·ALTER; inscribed on the reverse: BRACCIVS· PISANI·P[ictoris]· OPVS· N[icolaus]· PICININVS, and PERVSIA on the collar of the griffin.
Henry Oppenheimer, London, by 1912; Oppenheimer sale, Christie’s, London, 27 July 1936, lot 3 (as “A fine original”; for £135 to [ John Hunt, London]). Acquired by Robert Lehman through Hunt from the Oppenheimer sale.